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Wednesday 26 October 2016

Halloween Reads 2016

I've got a whole rake of books on the go at the minute, including my New Orleans reads, but at this time of year I always compile a list of horrors to stack up and this year is no different. I may not get through these but it's worth the old college try!

Stephen King's It
I'm listening to this on Audible and at the time of writing this, I'm just over halfway through. That's a minor achievement right there as this is well over a thousand pages long which translates to just over 44 hours on tape. Pray for me. 
I've been working my way through King's back catalogue for a few years now but I've always held off on 'It' because the film version scared the bejeezus out of me as a little'un and I've never looked at clowns in the same way since. Anyway, the setting is small town Maine, jumping between a group of kids growing up in the 60's, being terrified by an evil that appears as their worst fears and tries to lure them to their deaths and the 80's, where they're now all adults and have to return home to fight the evil again. There are some genuinely horrifying moments in this book that have literally stopped me in my tracks (I listen to it walking on my way to and from work) and I can imagine it's only going to get worse.

Sing Me To Sleep by C R Simms
A young couple move into an isolated cottage in the peak district. All is going well until Laura begins to hear strange sounds. She thinks she's developing tinnitus but her doctor can find nothing wrong. An archaeological dig on a nearby hill uncovers some disturbing finds and things start to get scary for Laura shortly after that. I've had this one on my kindle for a while and I'm finally going to read it!

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward
This is the first in a series of books from blogger Sarah Ward that have been well received. It starts in 1978 when two schoolgirls are walking home. Both are kidnapped but only one is found unharmed and unable to remember anything except that her kidnapper was a woman. Flash forward thirty years later and the mother of the still missing Sophie has killed herself. This event reopens the case, revealing some very dark secrets. This may be more of a thriller than a horror but no harm in mixing things up a bit!

Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
This is a 1983 collection of ghost stories, gathered by the late, great Roald Dahl. As per the man himself, ghost stories should "give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts". Bring it on, Roald!

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
This is a play about the Salem witch trials in the seventeenth century. Based on these events and actual people from the time, Miller's drama has been described as a "searing portrait of a community engulfed in hysteria". We went to Salem last year and did a historical tour that covered all of the witch trials and aside from finding it horrifying, it was also really interesting. I've wanted to read up on it since but have yet to do so…until now!

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
Set in suburban New England, a family is distraught to learn that their fourteen year old daughter Marjorie has begun to show signs of acute schizophrenia. Things get worse when the doctors looking after her are unable to treat her apparent mental health problems and driven to despair, her parents approach a local priest for help. He decides an exorcism is the only way forward and contacts a television production company looking for stars of their new reality show, 'The Posession'. With mounting medical bills the family have no choice but to let the cameras into their house of horrors. Fifteen years later Marjorie's little sister is interviewed by a best selling author about this time in their lives. This has been described as a "mind bending psychological horror", but I'm mostly drawn to what a unique concept it is for a book! I'll report back!

That's the lot for now but I may still throw in a Point Horror for old times sake!
What's on your Halloween book list? Have you read any of these?
To the comments!

Friday 21 October 2016

New Orleans Themed Reads!

I like to read books that are based in the places I'm visiting and we're off to N'awlans very soon! I read Breakfast at Tiffany's in New York, Stephen King in Maine and I planned to read Burial Rites while in Iceland but we did so much trekking about glaciers that that didn't happen. Good intentions and all that. 
So I'm going to try again with some New Orleans based reads. I'm limiting it to three because I don't plan on spending all my time reading but do let me know if I've missed anything hugely obvious here that I need to download pre-flight!

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice.
I attempted to read this as a child when the film came out in the 90's but for some reason I didn't get into it and never finished it. I'm sure we've all seen the aforementioned film version of this where both Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are rides so you probably know the gist of the plot but basically this was a whole series from Anne Rice about the vampire Lestat and his immortal chums/enemies, with New Orleans as a primary backdrop. That seems like an ideal setting for a tale about the undead what with NOLA's connection with voodoo etc. 

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Obviously I've seen the film of the same name and I've read some other works by Tennessee Williams so it's really about time that I read Streetcar. Blanche DuBois, having money troubles, travels to New Orleans to live with her sister Stella and her husband, Stanley. Tensions arise when Blanche complains about the shabbiness of their home and Blanche and Stanley share a mutual dislike. Things go from bad to worse for both women, mostly at the hands of Stanley. I can't really say anymore there without giving away the plot!

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
This was published posthumously and won the Pulitzer prize. Ignatius is the main character, living with his mother in uptown New Orleans in the 1960's. He's described as 'eccentric, idealistic and creative- almost to the point of delusion' and hates all things modern or related to popular culture. He loves his home city and constantly bores his friends with the tale of his abortive attempt to leave. Sounds like an interesting fella!

So those are my three. Have I left out any glaringly obvious choices? Let me know in the comments, or if you've read any of these!

Sunday 16 October 2016

New England Road Trip: Salem.

I am at last getting around to blogging about this part of our New England road trip (read more of that HERE). It's been a year now as we were there in September and October of 2015 but sure better late than never. I mostly wanted to keep Salem til now as it's coming up to Halloween and is the perfect time to reflect on our experience there. You should know in advance that I am a major lover of all things Autumn and Halloween so this was basically Chloe heaven. America is big on Halloween at the best of times and Salem was like that but on speed. And we were there two weeks before the actual event itself so that should tell you something. 


Where To Stay
Really, you can stay wherever you like as there's plenty of options but we stayed in a fab B&B that I felt was worth sharing. The owners of The Stepping Stone Inn were so friendly and really helpful when it came to advising us on where to eat and what tour to go on etc. Plus we loved the historical house and the decor was very cool. 

The stepping stone inn salem
the stepping stone inn salem

It was also really close to the centre of town so we were able to walk everywhere, which was super handy.

Where To Eat
We found a great deli that do the best sandwiches. We stopped into Scratch Kitchen on our last day for lunch and were served bacon dusted popcorn (amazing) while we waited for our Reuben's. Well worth a stop in!


Where To Shop
Salem is a beautiful place to walk around and window shop. There's lots of great book stores, tourist gift shops and witch/Hocus Pocus related stops plus, street stalls! 
I particularly loved a vintage style shop, Modern Millie, where I fell hard for the Dickens book clutch (below), that I sadly had no room for in my suitcase. There were also lots of cool 50's style dresses. Swoon. 

bewitched in salem

Bewitched In Salem is a good shop to go to for all things spooky; horror books, t-shirts, post cards, collectibles, figurines etc. Our tour also left from this spot, see more of that below. 

What Tour To Go On (cause you NEED to do a tour. Salem is history central).
Right. So there's loads of tours you can do but the Bewitched In Salem tour is widely considered to be the best and most historically accurate. Our tour guide started by saying that there would be no amateur dramatics because the real history of the town and the Salem witch trials were scarier than anything you could make up and he was so right. 

bewitched in salem tour

He took us through exactly what happened and brought us to all of the places where these horrific events took place. The tour was at night which added to the atmosphere but was chilly, so wear layers and wrap up! It's also worth booking in advance for this because it tends to get full up fast. 


We went back the following day to see the graveyard as it's illegal to go in there at night.
Our guide had told us which gravestones to look out for, including the worst judge of all that ordered the most amount of executions. Scary stuff. A lot of it was quite sad too so be prepared to feel a bit shaken after it.


This is the Salem monument to the victims of the witch trials; all of the stones around the green represent a victim and how they were killed. 
If you're wondering what "pressed to death" involves, just know that it's extremely grim. 

On a much lighter note, there's different Halloween events on every year with lots of delicious food stalls and fun things to do, like making a show of ourselves:


Then there's the specific witch related popular culture things to do, like visiting shoot locations from Hocus Pocus (the town hall where they filmed the enchanted all-night Halloween party for example, below) and the Samantha from Bewitched statue. It's illegal to not stand beside it and pose like a fool. No, really. Start practising your nose twitch now.


Salem was one of my favourite stops on our trip. We were only there for one night but we made the most of it and did as much as we could and cause of that, we got a really good feel for the place. I'd go back in a heartbeat. It was a really atmospheric place and that aside, it's also a very aesthetically pleasing town with lots to see and do. It's one hell of a history lesson to get too! 


Have you been to Salem? 
Where's next on your travel lust list?!

Sunday 9 October 2016

Chupi | Rings

I've previously espoused my love for Irish designer Chupi's beautiful nature-inspired jewelry and Himself has copped on to that too; below are two beautiful rings that I had my eye on and he gave me for Christmas and my birthday, respectively. 
While I was expecting the Emerald Quartz, the leaves were a surprise and such a lovely surprise at that. 
I tend to wear the two together on my right hand and as a lover of the colour green, rings that make me look regal and all things leaf and floral related, these suit me down to a tee. 


The emerald quartz has a ring cast from a mould of a twig and the stone is a vivid shade of green that has resulted in many compliments. The leaves ring hugs my finger perfectly and is adjustable so if you're looking for a gift to suit anyone- this is it. 


There's more detail on the leaves than what's showing up here but such is the pure power of my photography skills.

Lastly, check out that packaging and the lovely little Roald Dahl quote card that comes with it- the perfect touch. 


You can buy Chupi in the Made store on the top floor of Powerscourt shopping centre, where you'll most likely also find me, heavily drooling over things. 

*This is not a paid or sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own!

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Skincare Update #3

It's probably way more than #3 to be fair but I'm too lazy to go back any further. As you may know by now, I'm a big fan of skincare. So much so that I'm always trying new products and I often get more excited about it than I do fancy make-up. I have dry/dehydrated skin and so I tend to invest in good quality cleansers and moisturisers, although some of these were sent to me for review. I wouldn't keep using them if they weren't working for me though, so you can be sure they're good!


Bioderma Hydrabio Moisturisning Make-up Removing Micelle Solution
I loved the original Bioderma micellar water so when they brought out Hydrabio, specifically for dehydrated skin, I obviously had to buy myself a bottle. Usually I use this as the first step in my cleanse, followed by one of the below, more heavy-duty cleansers. While I like this, I think I may prefer the original. This is heavily-scented, bizarrely; an addition I would have thought was unnecessary. It still removes make-up without stinging my skin, but then so does the non-scented version!

Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser*
For those of you still missing the Botanics Cleansing Balm, this is the newer versions of it, in a tube! You apply this to the skin (it's like a gel/balm/oil mix), wet your fingertips and massage further into the skin. I then remove it with a warm muslin cloth. I like this one, I always feel like my skin is fully clean afterwards but with no dryness.

Shiseido Creamy Cleansing Emulsion*
This is one of those almost-too-luxurious-to-use products that I've had to make myself not save! When they say 'creamy', you'd better believe they mean creamy! It's really very lovely to use. I typically use this on a cotton pad and it gently removes whatever make-up is left after the micellar water. It's mildly floral-scented and most definitely has built-in moisturisers because my skin always feels a bit smoother after using it. Love it!

REN Express Make-Up Remover*
This one is super handy for removing make-up quickly. I usually just swipe this on a cotton wool pad across my face and it does exactly what it says on the tin. I'm almost finished this one but can see myself buying another, full size. 


Pixi Glow Tonic
I'd been trying to get my hands on this for ages but it was constantly sold out online, until I found it on sale in Marks & Spencers. This is a chemical exfoliant, so no scrubby beads here! I use this a couple of times a week and it removes dead skin cells from the face quickly and easily. Moisturiser works better after it and make-up applies better. It's a good'un.


Garnier Ultimate Blends Body Restoring Lotion 
I bought this in a French supermarket for €4. You can probably get this one here too but it was slightly cheaper than in Boots and I loved the sweet almond/vanilla scent of this one. It's as moisturising as the honey one I was using HERE

Botanics Hydration Burst Hydrating Day Cream*
I've been using this moisturiser for a while now and am almost finished it but I'm really liking it. It's light and cooling and sinks in quickly, sits well under make-up but at the same time, is an unusual consistency. It's actually more of a gel than anything else so if you hate heavy, cloying face creams, then it's well worth trying this. 

Jade Facial Roller
I read about this on the John, It's Only Make-Up Facebook page and so I duly bought one for myself and my sister. I'm using the end of my Josie Maran Argan Oil with this; gently massaging it in with either large or small sized jade roller endings. Because it's nice and cool it feels lovely but to be honest, I don't always have time to use this- oftentimes I'm too tired and I'm doing well if I use the oil at all!

And, that's the lot for now.
As the weather gets colder, I'll need to change up my skincare again to include some Winter skin saviours, so expect another post on that soon!

What skincare products are you currently rocking?
Anything else I need to try?!

*Products were sent to me for review. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own, as always.